Cleaning & Recovering a Hacked WordPress Site: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Clean & Recover a Hacked WordPress Site

A couple of days ago, I did something I normally try to avoid; I took to social media to rant. This was after I received a disheartening message via email, which prompted me to contact my web host, but the tech support did everything but help matters, hence the need to air dirty linen on [website name].

If you’re a WordPress user, you know how devastating it can be to have your site hacked. It’s not only a violation of your online space but can also lead to loss of data, compromised security, and damage to your website’s reputation. In this article, we will discuss how to clean and recover a hacked WordPress site, ensuring that you can get back on track as quickly as possible.

1. Identify the Hack

The first step in cleaning and recovering a hacked WordPress site is to identify the hack. There are several signs that your site may have been compromised, including:

– Unexpected changes in website appearance or content

– Unusual website behavior, such as slow loading times or redirects

– Error messages or warnings from your web browser or security plugins

– Suspicious files or code injections in your WordPress installation

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take immediate action.

2. Backup Your Site

Before you start the cleaning process, it’s crucial to create a backup of your site. This will ensure that you have a copy of your website’s data in case anything goes wrong during the recovery process. You can use a WordPress backup plugin or manually backup your files and database.

3. Change All Passwords

Once you have a backup of your site, it’s time to change all passwords associated with your WordPress installation. This includes your admin password, FTP password, and database password. Use strong, unique passwords that are difficult for hackers to guess.

4. Scan Your Site for Malware

Next, you’ll need to scan your site for malware. There are several WordPress security plugins available that can help you with this task. These plugins will scan your website’s files and database for any malicious code or files. If any malware is detected, the plugin will provide you with instructions on how to remove it.

5. Remove Malicious Code and Files

If malware is detected during the scan, it’s important to remove it as soon as possible. This may involve deleting infected files, cleaning up your database, or restoring clean versions of compromised files. Follow the instructions provided by your security plugin or seek professional help if needed.

6. Update WordPress and Plugins

Outdated versions of WordPress and plugins can leave your site vulnerable to hacking attempts. To prevent future hacks, make sure to update your WordPress installation and all plugins to their latest versions. Regularly check for updates and apply them as soon as they become available.

7. Strengthen Security Measures

In addition to updating your WordPress installation and plugins, there are several other security measures you can take to protect your site from future hacks. These include:

– Installing a reputable security plugin that offers features such as firewall protection, malware scanning, and login protection.

– Enabling two-factor authentication for your WordPress admin account.

– Limiting login attempts to prevent brute-force attacks.

– Using a secure hosting provider that offers regular backups and server-level security measures.

8. Monitor Your Site

Even after you’ve cleaned and recovered your hacked WordPress site, it’s important to monitor it regularly for any signs of suspicious activity. Set up alerts for file changes, monitor your website’s traffic, and keep an eye on your security plugin’s reports. Being proactive can help you catch any potential hacks before they cause significant damage.


Having your WordPress site hacked can be a nightmare, but with the right steps, you can clean and recover your site effectively. Remember to identify the hack, backup your site, change all passwords, scan for malware, remove malicious code and files, update WordPress and plugins, strengthen security measures, and monitor your site regularly. By following these steps, you can ensure the safety and integrity of your WordPress site.

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